In Australia, the substantially reduced life expectancy of 12-16 years experienced by people with mental health conditions is attributed largely to potentially preventable chronic physical disease. The inequity is acknowledged as a national research and practice priority. My research drive is to harness the potential for chronic disease prevention which lies in increasing the capacity of health services and practitioners to support mental health consumes to modify key health risk behaviours - tobacco smoking, poor nutrition, harmful alcohol consumption and inadequate physical activity.
My research addresses the critical need to reduce the inequitable burden of physical chronic disease for people with a mental health condition. Ultimately, through working with health and community services, my goal is to ensure that chronic disease preventive care is provided to people with a mental health condition in a manner that is accessible, acceptable and effective.
Professor Jenny Bowman (PhD, MPsycClin, BScHons) is a behavioural scientist and chronic disease prevention expert, with a research focus on the integration of chronic disease preventive care into routine mental health service delivery. She holds an academic position with the School of Psychology at the University of Newcastle and has previously held health service positions.
Prof Bowman’s research interest lies in reducing the burden of chronic disease at a population level through health behaviour change. She has developed a program of translational research in health psychology; focusing on population level chronic disease prevention strategies and on building the capacity of health care organisations to address the modifiable chronic disease health risks of people with mental health conditions. Her research is undertaken in partnership with relevant stakeholders and end-user organisations to ensure both scientific value and relevance to health policy and practice.
The need to redress the inequitable burden of chronic disease experienced by people with a mental health condition is a public health and health service priority recognised both nationally and internationally. Prof Bowman’s research contributes to improving the well-being of people with a mental health condition through improving their access to support for reducing their chronic disease health risks. It improves the capacity of services and clinicians to provide more holistic care, and identifies strategies that can be translated at scale to have a sustained population impact. The impact of her research will include concerted and specific strategies for health behaviour change that are accessible, acceptable and effective for people with a mental health condition.